Vegan Nourish Bowl

Vegan Nourish BowlAlthough we just got through the last of our Thanksgiving leftovers, it is now time to prepare ourselves yet again for another Holiday debauchery of eating, eating and more eating. Regardless of the holiday time, am I alone in this constant comfort food craving that has yet to come to an end? Something to do with the dark days and cold weather I assume… In any case, the holidays are a time to indulge so long as we do so in moderation. A little of the bad stuff counter-acted with a lot of the good stuff makes for a holiday we can enjoy and most importantly feel good about. So, to help you get all those nutrients in between those forkfuls of pie and mashed potatoes, I’ve created a completely meat and dairy free bowl that is packed with protein and vitamins. Most importantly, this is one tasty and filling bowl. Here are the components:

• roasted maple butternut squash
• noodles made from red lentils
• garlicky spinach
• avocado mash
• browned broccoli
• toasted pumpkin seeds
• shaved carrots
• cucumber
• hummus

I like to prepare all the ingredients on a Sunday, and put this together throughout the week whenever I want to reach for something healthy. Happy Holidays, and hope you enjoy this throughout the season!

Ingredients:

• 1 butternut squash (peeled and diced)
• 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp freshly grated garlic or garlic powder
• 1 tsp sumac
• red lentil noodles (or any bean noodle, or bean itself will work) cooked and coated in olive oil so they won’t stick.
• 1/2 tsp finely diced garlic
• 1 extra large handful fresh spinach
• 1 cup broccoli (chopped)
• 1 avocado (cored and removed from skin)
• 2 tbsp of fresh herbs of your choice chopped (I used basil and mint.. cilantro will work nicely too!)
• juice of 1/2 a lime
• 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
• 1 carrot (shaved using a peeler)
• 1 mini cucumber (seeded and sliced)
• 2 tbsp hummus

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place butternut squash in a roasting pan and coat with 1 tbsp olive oil (may need more depending on the size of your squash), maple syrup, sumac, 1 tsp garlic, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until tender and brown on the edges.

2. In in a medium pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic for 30 seconds then add spinach. Cook until spinach has shrunk down, season with salt and pepper and set aside. In the same pan, brown broccoli by roasting it in the pan for about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mash the avocado, fresh herbs, lime, salt and pepper until combined. Taste and adjust lime juice/seasoning to your taste.

4. Assemble your bowl. Place prepared ingredients in the bowl (squash, broccoli, spinach, noodles, avocado, carrots, cucumber) and dollop hummus in the center for dipping. Then sprinkle with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds.

Vegan Nourish BowlVegan Nourish Bowl

Greek Style Beans

Greek Lima Beans
I LOVE Greek food. If you leave out that delicious fried cheese and fried zucchini, Greek cuisine can actually be quite clean. The food is cooked in greek olive oils, tomato based sauces and lots of fresh herbs. My favourite part about going to Greek restaurants is those Gigantes Plaki beans. Those massive beans cooked in a dill tomato sauce is the perfect accompaniment to fish/chicken/beef and is actually delicious on top of veggies.

It was time I finally recreated this recipe in my own home- and I’m so happy I did. I have been eating these protein packed beans alongside all my meals these days. They are super satisfying and they add lots of flavour to generally boring dishes. Having trouble getting those raw veggies in? Throw some beans on them!

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Ingredients:

• 4 1/2 cups (about 3 cans) well rinsed gigante beans (canellini or butter beans work well too!)
• 1 yellow onion (finely diced)
• 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
• 1/4 cup greek olive oil (other olive oil will be fine!)
• 5 medium tomatoes (1 can of san marzano tomatoes will work too)
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 cup chopped dill (divided)
• 2 tbsp water
• salt and pepper to taste
• hot sauce or chilli flakes (optional)

If using fresh beans…

Start by soaking the gigantes beans overnight in water. Rinse well.Then place the gigantes in a large pan or pot with cold water, enough to cover them, add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender but not too soft. Drain and set aside.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until chunky. Don’t over process.
3. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or deep oven proof skillet. Sauté onion with a pinch of salt until translucent and soft. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
4. Add your crushed tomatoes to the garlic and onion. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes.
5.Taste your sauce, make sure its to your liking then add your beans. Add 1/2 cup fresh dill. Toss until beans are well coated and transfer to a roasting pan if your skillet/pan is not ovenproof.
6. If you find your sauce is too thick, add 2 tbsp of water and stir. Place beans in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then add your remaining dill + hot sauce or chilli flakes if you desire!

Serving options:

• with a fried egg + avocado
• raw or steamed broccoli + spinach
• over spaghetti squash
• with meat/fish
• over veggie rice/quinoa

Photo 2015-04-09, 5 04 14 PM

Sweet Potato Chilli

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I don’t know whether this constitutes as chilli or a stew but either way it is one of the easiest, cheapest and most satisfying meals to eat when the cold weather comes around. I have been making this dish for about four years now and can basically do it with my eyes closed. It is such a staple in my household, it practically blends in with the fridge.  What is so great about any chilli or stew is that you can add just about anything and it will still taste pretty great so long as the spice is there. If you have vegetables or meat that are reaching their expiration date, you can throw them into the pot and extend their life for at least another week or two. Whats best is that this dish actually tastes better with age. Just like a homemade sauce, the flavours are more enhanced a day or two later and it can be enjoyed throughout the week.

I do not add meat to this chilli because it is already packed with enough protein from all of the beans, which makes it a great option for #meatlessmondays or for those trying to reduce their animal protein intake. And to be honest, you don’t really miss it. I normally make Zach a huge container to take to work to eat throughout the week. This kid loves his steak more than the average, and this chilli is one of his favourites!

Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and can even help with weight management. Because they are rich in protein and carbohydrates you will be left feeling full and satisfied without any added fat. The sweet potato will give you lots of vitamin E and potassium. I even add a little turmeric to mine for added anti inflammatory benefits. Feel free to interchange the sweet potato with butternut squash (equally as delicious). Serve with a fresh salad for a complete meal or over some brown rice after a good cardio workout. My mom loves it over brown rice noodles or stuffed in a baked potato! Dee-lish. Bon appétit!
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Ingredients:

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
• 1 yellow onion finely chopped
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp chilli powder (you can add more if you like your chilli smokier)
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tbsp ground cumin
• about 1 lb chopped carrots (8-10 carrots, make sure they are bite sized!)
• 2 sweet potatoes chopped (can interchange with squash)
• 2 large cans of whole tomatoes (I buy San Marzano)
• 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
• 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
• 1 cup cooked canellini beans
• 1 heaped tbsp of tomato paste
• 1 tbsp hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot) *optional
• 2-3 drops stevia (optional)
• bunch of fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Directions:

1. In a huge stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sautée onion until translucent about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Sautée for another minute.
2. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. If you find they are sticking to the pot, add more olive oil.
3. Add tomatoes and pierce using a wooden spoon. If you like tomato chunks, don’t break them down too much! Add tomato paste and hot sauce and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer uncovered and cook until you can pierce the potato and carrots easily with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).
4. Add your beans and allow to cook for another 10 minutes until the water from the tomatoes is mostly cooked down. If you are using canned beans, make sure to rinse them really well! Make sure to taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If you like a sweet and spicy chilli, add a little bit of stevia!
5. Serve with fresh cilantro as a garnish!
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